Never Say ‘Easy’ in Ranch Life

One would think I’d know by now to never say “Oh, this will be easy,” when it comes to ranch life. That’s like the killer phrase when you’re wanting to get out early or have something planned for the day. The cows always hear about it and throw a wrench in the gears.

Friday was no exception. It was supposed to be my “day off” so I could attend the Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference for the weekend. But I didn’t have to be there til midafternoon, so I figured why not try to get a few things accomplished before heading out. This is where I jinxed myself saying, oh it’s gonna be an easy day.

The morning started off alright. I moved a herd of cows to new pasture. For this herd, moving has become a weekly routine because we are short on moisture and the grass just isn’t growing. This bermuda grass has been resting for 3 weeks and isn’t growing at all.

Then because it was such a “slow and easy” morning, I decided to saddle up Grulla and walk through a few herds instead of using the pickup or 4-wheeler. First pasture I went through, there was a young calf sick from a respiratory disease. This time of year with heat and high humidity, calves can catch something and go down hill pretty quickly.

So we trotted back up to the barn, I grabbed my meds and went back to catch the calf. He was in the woods along the creek, so it would be more difficult to rope, and seein as I can’t rope the broad side of a barn, opted out of swingin a loop. I was able to ride up beside him, jump off and flank him. Probably much less stressful on the calf than runnin him around, tiring him out. Well as I’m givin the shots, I tied my horses reins on the saddle, but turned around and he was halfway to the barn. Not a happy camper…

Since I had the calf caught, and no ride back home, I went ahead and got him doctored up. Per vet’s advice, I use Draxxin as a first line of defense in respiratory cases, with some Banamine to reduce fever. I notch the tags so I can recognize calves previously doctored, recognize what medicine they received (per the location of the tag notch), and then snap a photo of the tag with my phone so I can record the information in the books at the end of the day. This way I can manage to not duplicate treatments and keep a record of what treatments are working.

By the time I hoofed it back to the barn, I was cooled down about the Grulla incident, but boiling from the heat. He got a good work out and would spend the remainder of the day at the fence post, thinking about what happens when we runs off in the pasture. I hooked up the 4-wheeler and moved on to check the rest of the cows. At least this horse won’t run off as easily.

This is the point where I realized I now have a new a/c hole in the jeans. Guess in the process of hiking through the brush and flanking the calf, the worn spot in my jeans gave way. City people pay big bucks for “distressed, vintage” clothing, right? How much can I get for these?

Anyway, this is why I need to learn “Never say ‘Easy’ in Ranch Life,” It’s a killer phrase.


  1. Closely followed by the phrase, “It’ll only take a half an hour,” made famous at our place by my grandpa! Enjoyed your post – made me smile!

  2. We’ve had a couple good rains this last week. You guys get any?
    Talked to a rancher in Hope on Saturday, and he’s starving for hay. Says two years, now, in a row are killing him of drought. Don’t quite understand how the humidity can constantly be 100% and not have rain!

    1. We received 1.2 inches on Monday, most of that went right back up as humidity the next day. A brief sprinkly on Friday was about it. Changes the color, but the grass isn’t growing any.

  3. Great post Ryan. People need to know that we use antibiotics judiciously not just blanket treat. I pay attention to what pesticides we use on what fields and take care to rotate chemistry just like you do with antibiotics on cattle.

  4. You sure captured the reality of ranching…and farming too. I hate it when hubby says, “We’ll be off this field by tonight,” because then I know we won’t be off that field until this time next week. lol

  5. What a neat idea, to notch the tags to recognize doctored calves and what medicine they received. No excuses for CRS when you take a pict of the tag!

    1. Yep! CRS is exactly why I started taking photos of everything I doctor or any numbers when there’s one here and there. I remember what all the notches mean, but sometimes it’s an effort to explain em to others

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